Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B01

6856 Eastern Avenue, NW

Suite 314

Washington, DC 20012

 

 

 

                                        

 

 

March 11, 2013

 

Irvin B. Nathan, Attorney General

Joshua Turner, Assistant Attorney General

District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General

441 4th Street, NW 
Washington, DC 20001 

                                                                                                                   TO BE SENT VIA EMAIL and US MAIL

 

 

Dear Attorney General  Nathan and Assistant Attorney General Turner:

 

This is a request to verify that a previous determination from your office applies to a current situation.

 

I ask that the Office of Planning (OP) accord Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B (ANC 4B) “great weight,”  as per the provisions of DC Code Section 1-309.10(a) through 1-309.10(i)(2), prior to OP’s upcoming submission to the Zoning Commission on the Zoning Regulations Revision (ZRR).

 

OP Director Harriet Tregoning has written to tell me that it is the OAG’s opinion that we do not have “great weight,” as per the law, because it is the Zoning Commission that makes the final decision about the regulations and our “great weight” is before the Zoning Commission.   However, OP is currently making policy decisions on the ZRR recommendations it will be endorsing in its submission to the Zoning Commission.  Because their recommendation is a 900-page detailed document, it is clear that, while the Zoning Commission may well amend some of the OP recommendations, this document is likely the law we will be living with for decades.

 

Time is of the essence. We have been told that OP plans to submit its recommendations to the Zoning Commission in April.

 

I refer you to Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti’s August 16, 2004 letter to Commissioner Absalom Jordan.  I think that the points detailed in Mr. Spagnoletti’s letter also apply to the ZRR.

 

1.  August 16, 2004 Letter:

“…the Office of Planning is not exempt from providing the special 30-day notice to affected ANCs where its actions will affect the ANC area in a significant manner. “ 

 

Irvin B. Nathan and Joshua Turner

March 11, 2013

Page Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relevant Facts In The ZRR:

The ZRR is a five-year effort and is a massive revision of the city’s zoning regulations. It is arguably the most important land use change in the past fifty years.  The ZRR will affect ANC 4B residents and

businesses in many extraordinarily significant ways.  For example, OP is currently advocating that some developers who build within a one-half-mile radius of the Takoma and Fort Totten Metro Stations should not have to provide any parking in their buildings. 

 

2.  August 16, 2004 Letter:

“We base our decision on several factors…The Mayor’s Order which establishes the Office of Planning expressly lists among its functions the preparation, refinement and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, which is expressly listed in the ANC statute as one of those items for which special notice is required.”

 

Relevant Facts In The ZRR:

The ZRR is called for in the Comprehensive Plan. (See “Action IM-1.3  -Zoning Regulations and Consistency,” Pages 25-5 to 25-6). 

 

Action IM-1.3 says that “[t]he importance of zoning as a tool for implementing the Comprehensive Plan, particularly the Future Land Use Map, is discussed in several places in the Comprehensive Plan. ..The Zoning Regulations themselves need substantial revision and reorganization…”

 

3.  August 16, 2004 Letter:

“[T]he Office of Planning is required to establish and implement procedures for citizen participation in the planning process. As in Kopff we believe that the requirement for public participation signals the significance of proposed activity by the Office of Planning and its impact on the community. As a result, at the very least, an ANC should be provided with special notice whenever the Office of Planning opens itself to public participation on a given matter and that subject matter will affect the ANC area.”

 

Relevant Facts In The ZRR:

OP’s own actions demonstrate the major significance of the ZRR, and OP has acknowledged this significance.  OP established a task force to work on the ZRR.  OP held public meetings in every ward of the City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irvin B. Nathan and Joshua Turner

March 11, 2013

Page Three

 

 

 

 

 

OP should notify ANC 4B as per the law cited at the beginning of this letter, send us a copy of its draft ZRR and a deadline for comment.  It should consider our recommendations prior to reaching its final policy decisions and sending its ZRR submission to the Zoning Commission.  I also ask that OP send us a letter detailing why “the Commission does or does not offer persuasive advice,” also as per DC law.  (See Section 1-309.10(d)(3)(B)).

 

Thank you for your attention to this issue.  I look forward to your written response.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

(Signed Copy Sent Via US Mail)

 

Sara Green, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner 4B01

 

 

cc:  The City Council of the District of Columbia

       The Commissioners of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

       Honorable Vincent Gray, Mayor, District of Columbia

       Victor Hoskins, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

       Harriet Tregoning, Director, Office of Planning

       Gottlieb Simon, Director, Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions

       Francisco Fimbres, Director, Office of Neighborhood Engagement